A Burger King employee who had worked for 27 years at a franchise in the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas received a lackluster gift from the company, but through the kindness of strangers and a Hollywood film actor, the loyal employee was able to receive a much greater gift.
Kevin Ford, 54, was presented with an underwhelming gift by the burger company after marking 27 years of service earlier this week, receiving only a movie ticket, candy, a coffee tumbler, and a few pens. A TikTok video was posted of Ford opening his gift; however, he still appeared humbled and thankful for the gesture from his employer.
The video went viral, and viewers did not share Ford’s positive attitude toward the gift he received, as the burger company was hammered with criticism.
Ford’s daughter, Seryna, then created a GoFundMe in an effort to recognize her father’s hard work and dedication. According to his daughter, and Kevin himself, he had never missed a day of work in his 27 years of work.
Seryna wrote in admiration of her father:
He originally began working at this job as a single father when he gained custody of me and my older sister 27 years ago. Then as our family grew and he remarried, he continue [sic] to work here because of the amazing health insurance That [sic] was provided through this employer because it was unionized. Which got all four of his daughters through high school and college with full healthcare coverage. My dad continues to work here, because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age and leaving would cost him his retirement. In no way are we asking for money or is he expecting any money but if anyone feels like blessing him he would love to visit his grandchildren.
In the four days since Seryna created the GoFundMe, donors have raised more than $125,000 after nearly hitting $85,000 on Friday.
The fundraising efforts received a huge boost when Hollywood film actor, David Spade, donated $5,000 to Ford’s GoFundMe, TMZ reported.
Spade later messaged Ford, “Keep up the good work 27 yrs.”
Ford, ecstatic over Spade’s message, wrote back, “HOLY S–T Dude!!! Cannot Believe This!!!” He continued, “THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! For Even Watching the Video! I Love You My Brother!!! Much Love and God Bless. … I think [I] might be able to take a day off.”
To which Spade replied, “Wait till year 30.”
In an interview with Sierra Nicole, Ford expressed his gratitude for each donor’s generosity. “I just want to say thanks to everybody out there. It’s just so overwhelming,” he said. “And when you see someone like that, you know, … I was happy to get anything. Some people got nothing, so I was just happy to get anything.”
Burger King later issued a statement in response to the criticism, saying, “The Burger King brand and its many franchisees nationwide are committed to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the thousands of people serving across a wide range of roles — all dedicated to providing our Guests a world-class experience.”
In another statement to People Magazine, the burger company tried to soften the criticism for the underwhelming gift it gave to Ford.
“Following review with this location’s franchisee, we’ve learned that this video depicts a Team Member in receipt of a peer-to-peer reward in recognition of a short-term positive performance/experience,” they stated. “The franchisee offers its Team Members a robust employee recognition program, which includes the recognition of tenure milestones and monetary awards.”
Ford, still grateful, plans to use the money he’s received to visit his daughter and grandchildren while saving for their college tuition, he told NewsNation in an interview.
“The generosity of these people is overwhelming, I’ve been crying for three days now. I can’t believe it.”
This story originally appeared on Resist the Mainstream